Archive for August, 2011

The Fearlessness of Youth

August 27, 2011

I enjoy flying.  It’s exhilarating.

I also enjoy sharing that thrill of flight with others.

I’ve been seeing S for over a year-and-a-half now.  While I continue to enjoy her company [wiggling eyebrows], she’s heavily involved with another guy…her 7-year-old son, J.

I gave S a flight in my plane not long after we started dating, wandering to another airport for dinner.  Since that time, she’s been anxious for me to take her 7-year old son up for a ride.

start 'em young

Between our schedules, supporting weather (I don’t like taking newbies up on bumpy or murky days), and a healthy airplane, I finally had an opportunity to take the two of them up for a flight.

I flew in and met S and J at an airport near where they lived south of me and we loaded up.  S and I had discussed prior as to where J should sit…in the back with S or in front with me.  We both agreed — Absolutely up front.

It was very cute seeing them have to pile up folded up coats and towels so he could boost up high enough to see over the control panel.

As with all my first time passengers, the sight of J getting big eyes and hearing the “Oh my” (or some such) escape his lips as we climbed out was satisfaction enough for me.  J was expressively asking questions and looking all over as we flew through the smooth skies.

Then, a surprise I’d saved for both S and J, I asked if J would like to take the controls and fly a bit.  Who knew a 7-year old’s eyes could grow so large?

After some vigorous head nodding on J’s part and an ‘okay’ from S, I briefly explained what he needed to do.  Then, without flourish, handed the plane over to him.  He flew like a champ.

We wandered the countryside, sometimes letting him fly, sometimes me taking over the controls.  Finally, it was time to go home.

As we headed back, I obviously took over the controls.  Landing is just a wee tad tricky for a 7-year-old with 15 minutes of total flight time to handle.

Coming into the traffic pattern, I was extra observant of what was going on outside the plane, especially making sure there were no other airplanes about which might create a sound hazard (the noise of two planes colliding, I’ve been told, is rather loud).

Realizing that the flight was about to end, J thought that he should get one last chance at the flight controls.

…and grabbed the control wheel…


If not for the shriek commanding voice of his mom from the back seat telling him to let go, plus my absolutely heroic efforts to barely wrest control from this surprisingly strong 7-year-old <flexes muscles>, we’d have been flirting with an early meeting with the ground (okay, not really remotely close to that, but it does add a certain drama to the story, right?).

And the amazing thing was that he had no idea that there was a problem with what he’d done.


A good landing (yes, mine…sheesh), a few pictures around the plane, and a quick escape from this miniature Lindbergh-wannabe.

But, yeah, I’ll take up kids again.

They’re just fun.

everyone sing along!


Culture Shock

August 25, 2011

Girl Child has been home now for a day short of a week.  it has been amazing having her back.

no, she didn't actually walk home

well, amazing for me.  for her?  a bit of culture shock.

it’s to be expected, yes?  she spent the last two years in a place where the village population was about the same as the number of people in the local mall at lunch hour, yet spread over an area about 10 times as big.  she’s just not used to people, so many and so close.  despite me suggesting she go off and see friends (hers and mine…i wanted to show her off), her first few days desire was to cocoon in the house.

we’ve been playing games (kicked her butt in Boggle, she kicked mine in Bananagrams), watching tv shows (old “West Wing” episodes that we both enjoy), and letting her experience a wide choice of fresh foods (the spinach salad i made her the first night was a total hit!).

oh, and we did end up taking that bike ride that she wanted to go on.  on the way home from the airport, she was reiterating her wish list of things to do, which included the bike ride.  we had this interchange – – –

Daughter Person:  i’m looking forward to a bike ride.  but…i’m a little nervous, too.  it’s been so long since i rode a bike, i’m not sure i remember how.

The Dadster:  don’t worry…you’ll remember…it’s just like riding a bike.

[a quick duck from a flying elbow to the head and i survived that bad joke]

after a few days, she finally wandered out and is slowly re-acclimating to the weather (it’s still winter down in ZA), the hubbub (cars! people! noise!), and to the reality of having to find a job and place to stay.

we’ve been out quite a few times.  she’s relearning how to drive a car.  she met my Pub Friends at the last get together (so i DID get to show her off!).  she took a hike with me, Dear Friend, and another friend.  and tonight?  she wandered off on her own to meet up with old friends who still live in the area.

she makes it look easy.

she went to the mall by herself, to buy new shoes.  and ended up overwhelmed by the choices.  yes, they have choices in South Africa, but not in the village where she lived.  to get to the choices, she’d have to take a hike, bus, and taxi…some 3 hours to go 40 miles.  here?  a 2 minute drive to the mall.  too close, with still too many choices for her.  culture shock.

she’s off again, too soon, to start her new life.  heading to Washington DC to look for a job and an apartment.  she’s already invited me to come visit and is looking for a time to return here*.

i find myself wondering how much more culture shock that will be.  while the local city is clearly much bigger than her Peace Corps village, it’s by now means close to the size and frenetic lifestyle of Washington DC.

i’m thinking she’s in for a bit more culture shock.


*she damn well better…i’m lending her a car and want it back!

Exile Completed

August 18, 2011


Daughter Person is returning home!

The Prodigal Daughter Returns!

Having served her time for tax evasion  for gun running  in the Peace Corps, she is coming back to the U.S. of A

The experience in South Africa was a treasure to her.  Her host family was…IS…welcoming and embraces her as a family member.  She will have fond memories of the children and teachers at the school she was assigned to.  She will have wonderful memories of holidays taken to other corners of South Africa, as well as the surrounding countries.

She will have not-so-fond memories of what seems to be endemic across the world – the bureaucracy of governments, local and national, that seem to impede, rather than assist.  Her idealism, a necessity of youth, is tarnished a bit by beating her head against the veritable brick wall of red tape and beliefs of leaders.

But she is undeterred in life.

She has many resumés out to various organizations and firms in the Washington DC area.  Her true hope is to obtain a job which will allow her to continue ‘Saving the World’ [trumpet voluntary].

She’s coming back here to the Wilds of Ohio, where she spent most of her youth (I was going to add “growing up”, but think she did much of that in the Peace Corps).  Spending a few days with her old Pops, she’ll ease back into a lifestyle she hasn’t seen in two years.

On her wish list of things to do when she gets home –

–          Mexican food.  Mexican food, Mexican food, Mexican food.

–          A long bike ride

–          Beer, with my friends

–          Watch “Music Man” (she admits, “I don’t know why.”)

–          Eat a huge spinach salad

I’m not sure if I will get her for three day, three weeks, or three months before she begins her new life in DC.

But, we will enjoy it, Girl Child and I.

Memory Jogging

August 12, 2011

Okay, we’ll get this part out of the way early so you can save your comments for something more pithy – –  I’m old.

Meaning, I have trouble remembering things.  No, not to the point of Alzheimer’s or dementia (though for the latter, I’ve had people suggest that I’ve lived with that my whole life long).

yeah, you first

I like going to a local pub for drinks, eats, and socialization.  I go so often that I’ve gotten to know many of the wait staff.  Well, again, when I say “know”, I mean “recognize”.  But, I still like to call them by name, so need a little help.

Enter the iPhone with its nifty Notes function.  I’ve been keeping track of the names as I meet the new folks and to remember the ones who’ve been there awhile.  The iPhone, though, has limited space, so I have to have a shorthand of sorts.  Using physical features, resemblances, or the like to try and capture a name to a person.

Here’s the list I have.

You have two challenges (other than the challenge of trying to figure out just what the fuck I’m talking about and laughing in the first place) – –

1)  One of these is an utter fake, put in by a drunken cohort.  Which one?
2)  One of these was eagerly written by a committee of three women in my group.  Which one?


Pub Awesome Staff Kidz
Alice-tall blonde yum
Monica-curly brunette yum, oh-that-smile
Rebecca-sassy blonde, w/Rocky
Rocky-dark hair barkeep
Ted-long, flippy hair
Matt-glasses, extra appetizers
Dalton-skinny, vandyke
Bob-homer simpson
Joe-Rocky looking guy, close cut beard
Becky-York girl, legs too thin
Beth-always a necklace, nice cleavage, brunette
Casey-the manager
Helga-big ass and rack. Dirty, dirty girl
Jessie-BLONDE, cute face, skinny legs
Christine-big rack
Sarah-shag red hair, good tips gets a great hug
Andrew-london. wicked smile. fab bum
Jenna-12 year old brunette
Betty-Monica’s friend
Terri-glasses wearing hottie who winked at dear friend
Jed-scrubby beard
Kaylie-looks like cousin judith